Mercedes Walton, CEO of Cryo-Cell International, one of the largest and most established family cord blood banks, is praising legislative progress to date and encouraging continued momentum for existing bills through the second half of the year.
H.R. 1718, the “Family Cord Blood Banking Act,” and H.R. 2107, the “Cord Blood Education and Awareness Act of 2009″ would continue to build on the progress from the first half of the year to enable and promote the continued research, public awareness and tax benefits related to storing and using cord blood, all of which provide great benefit to families across America.
In early March, President Obama paved the way for progress by signing an executive order to remove barriers of responsible stem cell research. Later that month, U.S. Congressman Ronald Kline sponsored H.R. 1718, a proposed bill to provide significant tax benefits for the costs associated with umbilical cord blood banking. H.R. 1718 would amend an existing tax law in order to add these services to a list of qualified medical expenses that may be paid for with pre-tax dollars, or be deducted from taxable income.
The promise of continued progress came in late April, when Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced H.R. 2107, the “Cord Blood Education and Awareness Act of 2009.”
The proposed legislation, which was referred to committee in early June, directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a public education campaign on umbilical cord blood stem cells. The campaign would be aimed to develop methods to educate expectant parents about their options for banking or donating their child’s cord blood.
H.R. 2107 also seeks to bring healthcare professionals up-to-date on the value of cord blood banking and would make grants available to reach crucial segments of the population, such as minority communities and families with a genetic history of treatable diseases.
“This year’s encouraging volume of activity is testament to the growing acknowledgement of the benefits of stem cells, including non-controversial sources such as umbilical cord blood,” says Cryo-Cell CEO Mercedes Walton. “As we reach the midpoint in the year it’s a great time to reflect on the important progress that has been made, and to ensure that we maintain the positive momentum toward change that will benefit America’s families today and for decades to come.”
“We are encouraged and grateful on behalf of the families who may soon be able to more readily learn of the potential life-saving benefits of banking their baby’s cord blood, and have the opportunity to realize tax benefits as they would other medical costs,” said Walton. “Every day, all of us at Cryo-Cell are motivated by the stories of families who have been touched by the miracle of stem cells, and by the rapid progress being made by the scientific community,” adds Walton.
Currently, stem cells from cord blood treat more than 75 such conditions, including sickle cell disease, several types of acute and chronic leukemias, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s disease. Emerging science shows great promise for potential treatments including spinal cord injury, heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many more.
A pioneer in the non-controversial stem cell arena, Cryo-Cell has served over 175,000 clients worldwide and led the cord blood banking industry with the successful establishment of a state-of-the-art Good Manufacturing Practice/Good Tissue Practice (cGMP/cGTP) laboratory processing facility well ahead of emerging regulation and competition.
Truly the US government has taken the right steps regarding the cord blood stem cell banking and we are also hopeful that future seems to be bright under the US sky, with a more medically advanced society.
Source: PRNews Wire